Oahu’s Plastic Bag Ban Will Experience a Delay

Hawaii legislators have already passed a bill that will ban all non-biodegradable plastic bags from retail locations. The ban starts in July of 2015, and will become a permanent fixture on Oahu’s environmental efforts. However, the Honolulu City Council is looking to pass another bill that looks to outlaw all plastic bags across the region, including those that are biodegradable.

The reasoning behind this new legislation stems from the fact that there is no standard set in place to determine what is biodegradable and what is not. City officials believe that the best response to such a fact is to outlaw plastic bags completely.

Legislators understand that this stricter enforcement will require more preparation from business owners, and as such have pushed back the enforcement date to January of 2016 for businesses with biodegradable bags. Plastic bags used for dry cleaning, food packaging, and newspapers will still be allowed throughout the city.

Hawaii is the only state so far that has banned plastic bags. There are many cities across the nation that have bans in place, or are working on getting them passed. Some cities have opted for taxes or fees on single-use bags instead of outright banning them. California is the only state that is coming close to a statewide ban, with 67 ordinances in place, covering 88 municipalities.

Cities that have banned single-use plastic bags recognize the damage they cause to the environment. It is estimated that less than 5 percent of plastic bags are recycled. The bags add to our demand for oil, pose a hazard to marine and land wildlife, clog drainage, and litter the landscape.

Consumers don’t need to wait for the bans to take effect; they can start using their own recycled reusable bags now and establish the habit ahead of time. Check out our website today to research the different types and styles of reusable grocery bags and totes. By eliminating your use of single-use plastic bags, you will be making a hefty difference in the amount of plastic bags that end up in landfills or waterways.

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